- Fiza Pirani The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This story has been updated.
“Black Panther” fans rejoice: The world’s busiest airport is officially offering nonstop flights to the Kingdom of Wakanda.
Well, sort of.
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport shared a photo of a mysterious terminal showing a 7:30 p.m. departure time to the hidden city on Twitter this week, following a holiday weekend that brought in a whopping $235 million for the film.
And Twitter users were loving it.
Everyone, including “Black Panther” actress Lupita Nyong’o, who plays the warrior goddess Nakia, came prepared with all the essential questions.
Even Forest Whitaker, who played the beloved Zuri in the film, joined in on the fun.
One Twitter user noted that, in a way, Atlantans are essentially already living in parts of Wakanda.
The blockbuster’s ties to the metro Atlanta region are a pretty big deal. In fact, almost $84 million of “Black Panther’s” reported $200 million budget was spent in Georgia, the AJC previously reported.
Several scenes of Wakanda were actually shot at the beautiful rock quarry at the Vulcan Materials Co. in Stockbridge.
According to the state economic development department, 3,100 people working in Georgia’s booming film industry were employed during the shoot, which started in August 2016 and wrapped up in November 2017.
“We’re incredibly proud that Atlanta has such an important role in the film industry,” Reese McCranie, Hartsfield-Jackson’s director of policy and communications, told the AJC. McCranie said the airport’s social media team, which he oversees, came up with the idea during a Monday meeting.
Since its posting, the playful image shared on the airport’s official Instagram and Twitter accounts has reached hundreds of thousands of people.
“We love keeping our customers engaged,” McCraine said. “And it’s important for us to be part of the cultural conversation.”
Unfortunately, the current flight departing from Gate T3 isn’t headed to the Kingdom of Wakanda. But, McCraine said, “we are certainly looking to explore direct service connection. In the meantime, we hope everyone gets to enjoy the movie.”
As for Wakanda, the beauty and wonder of the fictional country was inspired by Africa itself. Before shooting the film, director Ryan Coogler explored the mountainscape of the tiny nation of Lesotho.
According to the Washington Post, Wakanda is actually farther north, along the shores of Lake Victoria. “The country is rendered as a Pan-African pastiche; viewers of Black Panther can point to Ghanaian fabrics and Zulu headdresses, Ethiopian tribal body markings and a prominent Bantu tongue,” the Post reported.
The fictional country was also inspired by several African landmarks, including South Africa’s Three Rondavels (or Three Sisters) and the canyon Orbi Gorge.